Interior Department official key in Colorado River negotiations to depart

Department of Interior headquarters
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July 13, 2023 — Tanya Trujillo, a senior official at the Interior Department, is set to leave her position next monthOpens in a new tab. after playing a crucial role in negotiations concerning the diminishing Colorado River. Serving as the assistant secretary for water and science since 2021, Trujillo has been responsible for overseeing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and has actively participated in discussions among the federal government, seven states, Native American tribes, and Mexico. The primary objective of these talks has been to find ways to reduce dependency on the Colorado River due to its dwindling water supplies.

Challenges Amidst Declining Water Availability.

According to Anne CastleOpens in a new tab., who previously held Trujillo’s position from 2009 to 2014, the job has become significantly more challenging in recent years. This difficulty is attributed to the rapid decline in available water resources for users of the Colorado River. Castle shared her perspective with the Associated Press, emphasizing the substantial shift in circumstances surrounding water supplies and the subsequent impact on negotiations.

Experience and Background of Tanya Trujillo.

Tanya Trujillo, via Department of the Interior website
Tanya Trujillo, via Department of the InteriorOpens in a new tab. website

Tanya TrujilloOpens in a new tab. is a seasoned water lawyer with extensive experience of over two decades in addressing complex issues related to natural resources management and interstate and transboundary water agreements, as per the Department of the Interior’s website. She has been actively involved in various roles, including serving as a project director with the Colorado River Sustainability Campaign and as the Executive Director of the Colorado River Board of California. Trujillo has also held positions such as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the Interior.

Trujillo’s educational background includes attending Stanford University and the University of Iowa College of Law. Hailing from New Mexico, her expertise and experience have been instrumental in navigating the complex landscape of water management and negotiations regarding the Colorado River.

Top Image: Department of Interior headquarters buildingOpens in a new tab., Washington, D.C, Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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